A tornado of high-octane indie rock initiated a fervor at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre. As garage punk enthusiasts filled the venue, they were treated to a double shot of Fucked-Up and the Black Lips playing back-to-back sets of live-wire intensity.
Even with a name like Fucked-Up, the Toronto sextet took the stage first, bringing energy levels to 11. Helped by three guitarists, lead vocalist Damian Abraham rarely deviated from screams and growls, flooding the mid-size theatre with cuts such as Invisible Leader and Carries Out to Sea.
However, before getting into the thick of it, the burly and bearded frontman made sure to get up close and personal. Snarling face-to-face with front row attendees, the microphone soon found itself coiled firmly around his neck, perfectly symbolizing the bruising power of their music.
Pulverizing from start to finish, the extra muscle from drummer Jonah Falco, bassist Sandy Miranda, and guitarist Mike Haliechuk cannot be understated in what culminated in a roaring, unforgettable performance.
In following the Toronto punks, Georgian garage-rockers the Black Lips came to party. Walking on stage to a room already buzzing with adrenaline and humidity, the band began to play their brand of sloppy, thrashing fun.
From cuts including Can’t Hold On, Crystal Night, and Oh Katrina! – the eccentric band dressed like misfits from a rockabilly bar, and played just as rough. Indeed, several songs were infused with a country twang, with band saxophonist/model Zumi Rosow taking double duty as singer, too.
If anything, the Black Lips don’t worry about playing performing they songs perfectly. Instead, they are concerned about the ambiance created – from moshing to crowd surfing – while partially sabotaging their own material along the way. Indeed, sometimes being original means sometimes breaking the monotony.